I once read a college professor’s blog that argued that many people waste time and money going to college. “They are simply NOT college material”. I don’t think that anyone should make that decision for anyone else. Not even parents. There are many examples of people who self-funded their own educations (moi included) and make out just fine. Personally I think that aspirations, expectations and a freed mind are most important.
I had a reflection yesterday when chatting with a dear friend about a life impacting experience I had teaching a group of “so-called urban” teenagers about job searching/resume writing, etc. I was scheduled in advance to teach this class to a community center in downtown Baltimore during a work day. When I arrived, I was scared to even get out of the car in my blue suit because the kids standing outside looked rough enough to kill me in a flash! I said a quick prayer and proceeded inside the building. The director of the facility greeted me and with dismay I looked at an empty room. I asked her, “Isn’t anyone coming to my class?”. She reassured me that they were anxiously waiting for this day and the room would be packed. Within a few minutes, those rough looking kids were no longer standing outside but sitting in front of me. I had to change my approach but cover the required material. It brings me tears and goosebumps to reflect and think about what those kids told me was the most impactful lesson from the entire class. Now I covered resumes, interviews, corporate dress, blah, blah, blah….but they told me the 2 most impactful things they learned from me were 1) It feels good to have someone clap for you. None of them had EVER had a group of people applaud for them. 2) It is o.k. to clap for someone else.
Can you imagine a life where U have NEVER had an applause in public? It is an experience designed to make a person feel good. That is why a standing ovation is so rare and so revered. A person who graduates automatically gets an applause by his/her peers and a large audience of friends/neighbors/teachers. Anyone can be college material that has the aspirations, expectations and a freed mind to be open to the possibility. There are over 105 Historically Black Colleges and Universities in this country. There is more than enough diversity to fit the needs of “any” kid hanging out looking “scarey”. Aren’t the statistics just staggering of the # of kids falling through the cracks of society with no hope and no “applause”? As a kid and now as a parent, I especially enjoy the “game of match”. As an adult, I think the same strategy still applies. As U open yourself up to see new experiences and people, U can quickly”match the right pieces” to win the game. Matching the right kids to the right HBCUs will help us all win the game. Shouldn’t that be what HBCU kidz is all about?